Calling Out the Right Wing Lie Machine

Tom Hall: There has been a campaign to politicize loyalty. Those who hate government are loyal. Those who cling to old fashioned ideas that politics should be “of the people, by the people, and for the people” are disloyal. Those who question no-bid contracts for inadequate body armor, unsafe housing for our troops in war zones, or Bush’s $7++ billion gift to Wall Street bankers, are enemies of freedom.

Calling the Right Wing Lie Machine to Account

Republican-party-party

Tom Hall: There has been a campaign to politicize loyalty. Those who hate government are loyal. Those who cling to old fashioned ideas that politics should be “of the people, by the people, and for the people” are disloyal. Those who question no-bid contracts for inadequate body armor, unsafe housing for our troops in war zones, or Bush’s $7++ billion gift to Wall Street bankers, are enemies of freedom.

Coal Mine Disaster: Legal Corruption and Legal Murder

Massey-Coal

Tom Hall: The corporate media is talking about the tragic coal mine “accident.” That’s a lot like saying that the junkie’s gun accidentally went off during the 7-11 robbery. Except that the junkie had an uncontrollable biological urge. And the junkie had not spent years thumbing his nose at the safety regulations and at the state and federal government agencies that tried to impose those regulations.

Corporate Media: All the News that Suits the Suits

Media Control

Tom Hall: One reason that there has been so little outcry about this complete abandonment of the capitalist ideals of the Reagan years is that there is no longer any press competition in the United States. All the broadcast and cable networks are now owned by about five multinational corporations. And in every major city, the same corporations own all of the television and radio stations and the cable systems. Most cable systems have no competition at all.

Rescuing Reagan from the Neocons

Ronald Reagan

Tom Hall: Televangelists, mega-church pastors, and the backers of Proposition Hate go on and on about Reagan’s devotion to traditional family values and the sanctity of marriage. They don’t mention that, as governor of California, Reagan signed the Therapeutic Abortion Act, permitting women to make their own health care decisions. Or that Reagan signed the nation’s first law permitting no-fault divorce.

Avatar: Beauty & the Beastly Ideas

Avatar Oscars

Tom Hall: Cameron is a closet Republican. While mouthing anti-corporate platitudes, he embraces the “Party of No” stance that all social strife can be solved with more force, less thought, simple sloganeering and appeals to fear and anger. And, like his Republican compatriots, he rakes in the dough with a stirring yarn which evades, rather than deals with, real social problems.

A Saint, a Satanist, and a Lawyer Walked into History

toms article

Tom Hall: Progressives do not need to believe in religion to understand that the values that Jesus taught and that Dr. King and Senator Kennedy lived, are beneficial to the world whether or not there is a God or an afterlife.

Aeschylus to Afghanistan, When Will We Ever Learn?

Aeschylus

Now President Obama tells us that the oil wars have cost us $10 trillion. If we believe the most strident Republican critics, just $1 trillion would pay for a decade of real health reform and care for everyone.

Did the Berlin Wall Really Come Down?

Tear Down that Wall

The Reds responded to such ridicule with paranoia and increasingly strident attacks, claiming that their opponents were dishonest and morally corrupt. Red governments proclaimed that the moral bankruptcy of non-Red societies would lead inevitably to the collapse of all but the Red states.

It Takes a Village to Make a Public Option Work

LarryWinesTiedToTheTracks

Our village could afford to provide health care to everyone, if we weren’t spending so much to fund the war profiteers who keep us living in fear. The village providing health care to everyone would be the Public Option.

California’s Initiative Process Could Lead the Way on Real Health Insurance Reform

Propositions

Given a chance to do something simple, clear, and fair to limit insurance company death panels and to punish bad faith insurance decisions, many people might stand up for beginning health insurance reform the way they stood up for car insurance reform.

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When Courts Inflict Cruelty: Is Ronald George the New Roger Taney?

Dred Scott

Civilization didn’t collapse when traditional Jews had multiple wives in Biblical times or when Moslems had four wives as permitted by the Quran, or when Utah was founded by men with plural wives. Civilization didn’t collapse with the end of legally enforced segregation. And it hasn’t collapsed in the states which allow same-sex marriage.

The Republican Empathy for Corruption

sotomayor

Senator Jeff Sessions was once nominated to be a judge. He expressed his own brand of empathy tempered by toughness when he said that although he liked the Ku Klux Klan, he turned against any Klansman who smoked marijuana.

Empathy for the Common Man

Raul and Brisenia Flores

I was going to try to write something in a humorous voice about how Darth Limbaugh was directing Emperor Cheney’s imperial storm troopers, dressed as Senators Graham and Boehner, out to savage and malign Sonia Sotomayor. I figured that there must be some workable pun in the idea that they can take the white sheet [...]

Empathy, the Truth Behind the Hypocrisy

Ron Kovic

The Republicans are searching through Judge Sotomayor’s old speeches and party conversations to find trash to dump on her in their talk radio slime sessions. For honest people, it is more important to look at and consider what she actually said in legal decisions she wrote while she’s been a judge, deciding cases. When it [...]

Marriage Equality, Beyond the Lying

From upper left: Rick Warren, Dick Cheney, Chief Justice Ronald George, and Mary Ann Glendon.

My first essay for the L.A. Progressive was about Proposition 8 and the lies that self proclaimed Christian activists were telling in order to promote their bigotry. It seems almost ridiculous to catalog the number of violations of the Commandment against bearing false witness that these “Christians” embraced in order to sell their ballot measure. [...]

The Republican Contract on California

arnold

We get to vote, again, on May 19. This time we have a bunch of ballot initiatives that the Republican Party demanded as a condition of reaching a budget “compromise” last winter. The commercial media tell us that most of these measures are failing in polling, but still have a chance at passage. Still have [...]

Reagan the Socialist, Nixon the Commie, Eisenhower the Quisling

commie-republicans

Ronald Reagan was a socialist. I didn’t say it. Bill O’Reilly got permission from Republican Party policy chief Rush Limbaugh to explain, on the air, the economic logic that drives the Republican Party to now condemn Reagan as a socialist. As O’Reilly explained Republican policy, anyone who wants our wealthiest citizens to pay as little [...]

Returning to the Rule of Law: Bogus Republican Complaints about AIG Bailout

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS).

Last week, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) weighed in to express his outrage at the lack of government control which led to the AIG bailout scandal. This isn’t the first time that Sessions has expressed outrage over wasteful spending and lack of government control. Back when the Iraq war was young, news broke that Paul Bremer [...]

Republicans: The Tough-on-Crime Hypocrisy

justice-and-corruption

2009 has started badly for honest communications. I’ve watched while President Obama reached “across the aisle” attempting to share the glory of trying to save the U.S. from the Bush Depression, with Republicans. I’ve watched as Democratic leaders in the California statehouse tried to convince Republican assemblymen to consider schools, infrastructure, and public health to [...]

We Are What We Eat

pizza-and-beer

How often have we ordered up a few pizzas and a couple of six packs to sat around, focusing our political positions while expanding our waistlines? Last week, President Obama ate crow as his picks to manage health system restoration and to gain some control over government efficiency fell away under assault for their use [...]

Gaza, Until We Talk

injustice1

It’s ironic that the Israeli assault on Gaza started just as Defiance was opening in movie theaters around the country. Defiance is the fiction film version of a true story of a group of brothers who saved Jews and attacked Nazis (and sympathizers) in Eastern Europe during WW II. Defiance is just the latest in [...]

Havana and Hamas: Obama Can Chart a New Course at Last

fidel_castro

As we lament the horrors in the Gaza Strip, currently playing out on our televisions, we might be well served to reflect on 50 years of Castro’s regime in Cuba, and what lessons and opportunities our history of opposition to the Cuban revolution might hold for the incoming Obama administration.

Exclusion, Inclusion and Change: Is Rick Warren Today’s Ebenezer Scrooge?

scrooge-warren

by Tom Hall – Do you remember what Scrooge did when he woke after that terrible night with the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and yet to be? He flung open his window and told a boy in the street to run around to the butcher shop and buy the prize turkey hanging in the [...]

Making Education a Centerpiece of Obama’s Rebuilding Plan

dunce-cap

by Tom Hall – Amidst all the talk from both conservatives and “progressives” about how President-elect Obama’s cabinet and economic-recovery choices are destroying either the nation or his own commitment to progressive ideas, it might be useful to think about Georgia Congressman, Paul Broun, who identified President Obama as a Marxist, communist, socialist, fascist.

From Kennedy to Obama: Recapturing America’s Greatness

by Tom Hall – The day after the election, another lawyer in my office asked, “Is this what it felt like in 1960?” When did I get old enough that people think of me when they want the wisdom of the aged? But it’s a fascinating question.

What Now?

Take a break. It’s been a loooonnnggg campaign. Reading the emails and news articles, checking websites, sending corrections to the smear-watch sites, volunteering at the phone bank, and all those arguments around the office. Especially with those smarmy lowlifes in the accounting and legal departments, as if their fancy educations made them smarter than the [...]

The Profits They Make from Attacking Freedom

by Tom Hall – In earlier essays, I talked about how a group of for-profit businessmen was promoting Proposition 8 (Proposition Hate), the anti-gay marriage measure to write bigotry into the California Constitution. I pointed out some of their hypocricies and dishonesties. But I didn’t talk much about their finances.

Sarah Palin: Gabby Hayes or Lady MacBeth?

by Tom Hall – Do you remember Gabby Hayes? He was a fine actor who built a film career playing sidekicks to younger, better looking leads. As sidekick, he provided comic relief, and dramatic motivation for the hero. Sidekicks are a useful, when entirely fictional, device in movies and TV shows. But not so much [...]

McCain Family Values

At a time when millions of families know that they will be losing their homes to foreclosure, and when hundreds of thousands of people who would like to work to support their families, but can’t find even poverty-level, minimum wage jobs, it might be useful to spend a few paragraphs considering “Family Values.” It seems [...]

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